Indian weddings are twisted by the cultures and traditions of the past. Huge gatherings, delicious food, unstoppable dance, loud music, and loud family best explains the nature of Indian weddings. Indian weddings are known across the world for its celebrations and it is regarded to be incomplete unless Varmalas (flower garlands) are not exchanged between the bride and groom.
There are several reasons that explain the significance of Varmala in the Indian wedding culture. These beautiful Varmalas are made up of fresh-fragrant bloomed flowers. Although it is difficult to string the heavy flowers together people still prefer it for freshness and appeal.
These garlands were used by girls in the past to choose their grooms by putting it around their neck - a ceremony call swayamwar. Its use is also mentioned in old scriptures and Ramayana. Sita, in Ramayana, had put a Varmala (flower garland) around the neck of Lord Ram (which was treated as the acceptance from Sita to accept Lord Ram as his husband).
In the past, a girl used to choose her groom by putting a garland around his neck in a ceremony called Swayamwar. A mention of this is made in many old scriptures and epics, the noted one being Ramayana. In Ramayana, Sita had put a garland around Lord Ram’s neck after he breaks the bow which is a symbol of her accepting him as her husband.
There’s a similar case that happened when Drapuadi, in Mahabharata, had to choose a husband from a huge gathering of prospective grooms who had gathered together. And Drapuadi chooses Arjun by garlanding him. There are several other stories that explain the significance of Varmalas in Indian weddings.
Use of Varmala in the Present Day!
Varmalas are still relevant in Indian weddings and play a pivotal role while the religious rituals are performing during the ceremony.
Exchanging the Varmalas
Varmalas are exchanged after the groom and his relatives and friends arrive at the Venue (Mandap). On his arrival, the bride gets up and puts this beautiful garland, also known as Jaimala, around the neck of the groom - meaning that she has officially accepted the bride as her husband. Followed by this, the groom also puts a garland around the bride’s neck depicting that he has also accepted her as his wife. It’s not just about exchanging the Varmalas, it’s about sharing love, acceptance, and the happiness of the new beginning. This ceremony is performed in the presence of family members of the couple, friends, and priests.
Whether in the past or today, the exchange of Varmalas is the depiction of acceptance from the bride and groom to each other. The new beginning of life.
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